The next great techpreneuer could be from Indiana

By Oseye Boyd

I don’t consider myself a techie, but I do love technology. I love my smartphone (I’m a dedicated Apple fan so the only smartphone I’ve ever used is an iPhone). When you think about the way smartphones revolutionized communication and connectivity in such a short period of time, it’s nothing short of amazing. If I forget my phone at home, I turn back around to grab it. I cannot not have my phone. Twenty years ago I didn’t have this dependence on my phone. Twenty years ago I still had a pager. I just had to laugh at that memory. That was instant communication back then.

The smartphone is but one example of how technology has changed in recent years and continues to evolve. Technology such as Google Hangout, RingCentral Meetings and Zoom have transformed meetings as we no longer have to be in the same physical space to have a meeting. I’ve participated in meetings while attending my daughter’s track meet or while sitting in my den paying bills online. I didn’t have to choose one or the other. I could multitask, and as a busy mom that’s always a plus. Other tools such as Slack and Basecamp improve project management, workflow and communication between colleagues.

Not only can technology be used anywhere, it can be created anywhere. You no longer have to be located in Silicon Valley to found a tech company. Indiana is home to many techpreneurs and even a technology nonprofit, TechPoint, that cultivates tech startups, helps tech people network and find employment. TechPoint posted 2,000 jobs in 2018. Yes, there is more than corn in Indiana. The average salary for tech jobs in Indiana is $70,902. The average salary for someone working in cybersecurity in Indiana is even higher —$82,233.

Let’s just stay at cybersecurity for a moment. This is a field that has unlimited growth potential right now and job security. Think about how many instances of hacking you’ve heard about — or know about firsthand. I know the number of letters alerting me to a possible leak of my information has increased recently. I believe I’ve received two such letters in the last six months. Currently, Indiana has 8,124 cybersecurity professionals. That sounds like a good number until you learn we still need another 2,280 to fill open positions. Earlier, I talked about the difference 20 years made in communication technology. I know I didn’t know cybersecurity jobs existed or would exist at the capacity those jobs do now 20 years ago. As we move into an age where all of our personal data is kept on servers or “in the cloud,” having trusted individuals who can stay ahead of hackers is imperative. 

We focused on education in the last issue of Indiana Minority Business Magazine. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs. Software development, apps that solve everyday problems and entertainment such as games are all various types of technology that people in Indiana are creating right now and will continue to create. We’re known as a manufacturing state, but the technology has even changed the landscape for manufacturing positions. One constant complaint I hear from manufacturing managers is not having enough employees with the skills needed to work with current technology. Parents can guide their children toward a career in technology and feel good because these jobs offer stability and growth. The salaries earned in these high-paying jobs fuel the local and state economy and that’s a win for everyone.

While everyone can’t be Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergy Brin or Mark Zuckerberg, Indiana could be the home of the next game-changing techpreneur. Wouldn’t that be awesome?